I have been to a lot of beer bars. Even though I am more of a homebody and very picky, I have seen the gamut of decor and tap numbers and themes. Most are good to great. Some places, I immediately take to and feel more at ease in.
1642 in Echo Park is one of L.A.’s homiest bars. It has been serving up beer and wine since the middle of 2010, but I just hadn’t made my way there. Now I wish I had stopped in sooner.
I don’t want to overhype 1642 because it is simple and straightforward. You may pass by the place (like I did) two or three times before seeing the door with a small “open” sign. Inside are four taps in a dimly lit space. No food but peanuts and pretzels. No flat screens hung everywhere.
But if you go on a night when jazz is being played it is grander than the sum of its parts. Sometimes you just need to enjoy the music and your craft beer and not always be on.
But since this is ostensibly a beer column, here is the line-up when I was in: Sudwerk Lager, Nibble Bit Tabby ESB and Stone’s Cali-Belgique. Yes, I did say four taps but the Avery Jubilation had been tapped out. They also offer up bottles like OC’s Bootlegger’s, Russian River as well as cans like Maui Brewing and Avery.
Owner Elizabeth Fischbach has created a good mix with 1642. One way I can tell is that on a Sunday night, the bottle and can list had dwindled. To me that means the place is busy and the beer is not sitting around. You will find larger lists with more exotic offerings on tap but when you want something different (and romantic for the up coming Valentine’s Day), 1642 is the address.
Now that I have extolled the virtue of the simple bar and beer list, let me expand with this week’s new homework assignment. Find a style of beer that you haven’t tried in a while or ever. Grab a couple different versions from different breweries and do a taste comparison. I would suggest a couple ESB’s or a couple of brown ales. Then if you want some extra credit, check out the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) website to see how close the beers you chose match what the judges look for in a beer.
The Beer of the Week is from a well-established brewery that may have been forgotten with the onslaught of new beers that reach our shelves almost daily it seems. It is Alesmith’s IPA. It is not a weak IPA but it doesn’t chafe the palate either. A peppery bitterness is present in every enjoyable sip. And it can be found at most good craft beer sellers.
Find more of Sean Inman’s writing on his blog, Beer Search Party.